Toward the end of the year, I finally got around to watching HBO’s Westworld. Many people had commented that it was just Jurassic Park, but with androids – an argument I found both ridiculous and reductive. Westworld, after all – the original 1973 film – was written and directed by Michael Chrichton. Almost two decades before Michael Chrichton himself wrote Jurassic Park. If anything is just something else, Jurassic Park is Westworld, but with dinosaurs.
One of the most compelling aspects of the original Westworld is that you have no insight into the androids – no reason is provided regarding why they begin killing guests, or whether there’s any reason inside their machinery at all. And while that storytelling aspect is intriguing in a short 1973 film, it wouldn’t have worked for a juicy television series in 2016.
So is HBO’s Westworld “just Jurassic Park, but with androids”? Hardly. It’s a reflective, chaotic, beautiful mess of a show, broaching and tackling a number of interesting topics: the development of sentience. The quality of a society that can embrace a theme park like Westworld. A jab at meta commentary on gaming culture. What makes an entity human. The power of storytelling, and the deconstruction of narrative.
Westworld is a tornado, and one of its best summaries is that oft-repeated bit of Shakespeare: “these violent delights have violent ends.” So I made y’all a thing:
Violence – against others, against yourself – is a tornado, sweeping everyone in its path up indiscriminately and depositing them somewhere new. In the Maze, to come to self-realization? In a paroxysm of emptiness, a fallen and depraved society? We’re not sure. All we know is that white hats are so hard to keep clean.
And we’re grateful to Shakespeare for this line from Romeo and Juliet: “these violent delights have violent ends.” Does anyone ever listen to Friar Laurence?
If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.
P.S. If you were a member of my Patreon, you could have received a Limited Edition Postcard of this design as a perk!